AbstractsBiology & Animal Science


by Young Eun Kim

Institution: San Diego State University
Year: 2015
Record ID: 2062655
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/138264


Embodiment is a work inspired by a family experience with cancer and my consequent health anxiety. I have generated forms that reference microscopic images of diseased cellular structures using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and 3D printing processes. The process by which forms are created in the computer program is similar to how cells replicate, multiply and mutate in the body. The sterility of the process and the resulting material enables me to address my anxiety from an emotional distance. By making the cellular forms into something tangible and placing them on the body, the interior becomes the exterior, potentially revealing an intimate narrative that is particularly potent and relevant in the format of jewelry. Translating my personal narrative into a tangible form has been a liberating process. I have found comfort in externalizing repressed emotions and memories of cancer as jewelry. Furthermore, I am fascinated by different compositions, colors and formations of these diseased cellular structures. The aesthetic pleasure found in diseased cell structures is antithetical to the emotional response evoked when they are identified. Despite the sadness and unease I have about cancer, I have grown to find these structures beautiful. This body of work is comprised of ten wearable pieces. The materials are consisted of Alumide, sandstone, frosted detail plastic (UV cured acrylic polymer), Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and flexible Elasto plastic, along with copper, brass, sterling silver, and steel. Each cellular form is rendered on a computer program, printed three dimensionally then combined with handmade components. Encountered in the personal and public space of jewelry, Embodiment encourages others to talk about cancer and their collective experience of health anxiety. Ultimately, this body of work expresses the intimate narrative of cancer through a design exploration in making cancer beautiful. An exhibition of this work was presented in the University Gallery at San Diego State University, April 19 - May 1, 2014. Images of this thesis project are on file at the Slide Library of the School of Art and Design at San Diego State University.